In this segment, I outline the emerging prospects for the 2011-2012 Horizon League season.
Kendrick Perry, Youngstown St.- After a fairly solid freshman season, Perry is a real candidate to breakout during his sophomore campaign. Perry was extraordinarily poised as a freshman, posting over a 2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. In next season's play, he will not only demonstrate his capabilities as a distributor though, but should also increase his scoring output as well. In the Green Tree Summer League, Perry shot over 40% from beyond the arc and demonstrated remarkable athleticism. On the defensive end of the floor, Perry is laterally quick enough to defend virtually anyone at the college level. Look for him to have an all conference year next season and to emerge as one of the best mid major pro prospects.
Khyle Marshall, Butler- Following in the footsteps of other Butler greats, Marshall spent his summer competing for Team USA. And, while he was not particularly efficient there, Marshall still gained some valuable experience competing against some of the toughest competition in the world relative to his age bracket. With the departure of Howard inside, Marshall should see considerably more playing time and should become the focal point of Butler's interior attack alongside Andrew Smith. Despite the fact that he did not receive all that many touches as a primary option last season, Marshall found ways to score. Look for him to put in "garbage" baskets again this season, while also looking to establish his presence on the block more often.
Alec Brown/Jarvis Williams/Terry Johnson, Wisconsin Green Bay- With Fletcher gone, these three players are going to need to increase their production on offense. Alec Brown was one of the most promising mid major freshman big men a season ago. Look for this 7 foot post threat to alter shots and become one of the more coveted pro prospects in the conference. Williams is a combo forward that is capable of securing rebounds. In his first season of Division 1 basketball, he ranked 8th in the Horizon League in Defensive Rebound % according to kenpom.com, indicating that he could improve on the glass next season. Look for him to also increase his scoring output as a senior. Finally, transfer Terry Johnson should thrust himself into the Green Bay lineup almost immediately. By the end of the year, expect him to blossom into one of the more improved players in the conference.
Chris Blake/LaMarcus Lowe, Detroit- Blake had a fairly productive year on the wing for Detroit, averaging double figures and asserting himself as one of McCallum's top options. Look for him to increase his efficiency and overall production this season after learning to play within himself and not force shots. Lowe is a long big man with tremendous upside as a shot blocker. Look for him to receive more minutes and thereby increase his production.
Paris Carter/Darrin Williams, UIC- With the exit of Neely and the graduations of Paul Carter and Robo Kreps, some returning players must account for this squad's lost production. Paris Carter is a likely candidate, as he played a fairly integral role in UIC's offense last season. Before he can become a top option, though, he must improve upon his woeful free throw percentage from a season ago. (38%) If Darrin Williams can get into better shape by the time the college basketball season starts, he should receive more minutes in the Flames' lineup. He can be difficult to handle inside when given the chance.